Thursday, March 4, 2010

"‘Yes, I'm in a serious relationship and getting married this year’ -- Cobhams

“Families are involved and it doesn't speak well of me if I should just disclose details of an issue as serious as marriage without due consultation between all of the parties involved. I will let you have more details, but at the moment, I can tell that none of the things written so far about this issue is true. The first public statement that is going to be made about this issue is what I am going to tell you now and even those would not be very specific because nothing has been finalized yet. None of the other people who wrote about this talked to me.”
Thus said Cobhams Asuquo, and with that as the backdrop, we embarked on a exclusive interview with the multi-talented producer on the stories going about town that he is getting set to get married.
The lady in question is a tall, slim, dark lady named Odunola. Anywhere you see Cobhams, she will definitely be there with him. She wasn't at home during this interview, but Cobhams talked to us about her, his music and a number of other things…

We have seen you around with a particular lady and we would like to know who she is?
I don't want to publicly disclose her identity yet, even though some people have managed to put her identity together. I agree that I am in a serious relationship and I, in a lot of cases, appear with the person I am seeing.

How did you meet her?
We met at the Public Affairs section of a country's information centre where we were just preparing to go and study. That's the much I like to tell you now. It is a very interesting story how we met, but you have to wait a little more before you can get it.

How long have you been going on?
We've been friends for a long time.

Does she have any musical interests?
She likes to listen to music and she sings quite well. She's got a great voice.

Is she doing anything professional in music?
She supports me and that's professional enough (laughs). She is interested in some of the other things I like to do. We both like to write and we also do a few other things as well.

Let's talk a bit about your music. How many artistes are on CAMP (Cobhams Asuquo Music Production) and how many of them are you planning to bring out?
We are planning to bring out one artist at a time. We have about seven artists working with us at the moment, but we are going to unleash them one by one, starting from Bez, who in my opinion is the next big thing in Africa because of the buzz that is currently building up about him. There's also Omolara, Tarri, Pheel, Tamara. They are a crop of artists who hopefully are well grounded to give Nigerians a totally new musical experience.

How many people are actually going to come out this year?
We are pushing for five, but it may thin down to three. We want to make sure that we pay as much attention to each person's work as possible because they are uniquely different works of art and they need to be expressed and interpreted in their various respects. It is a lot of work and we are not in any hurry. For us, if we can successfully do only two of them, it would be enough. But going by our calendar, we are pushing for five people.

What made you decide to pick some particular people to work with, apart from the general work you do for people?
I decided to begin to work with artists when I realized that there's a need. First of all, we have a crop of talented Nigerian artists who don't have the avenue to express their kind of art because there's this pop culture that does not necessarily give room for the unique sounds that some artists have. I belong in a lot of sense to that school, but I felt the pain of a lot of artists who are gifted with very unique forms of musical expression, but have no medium of expressing themselves, so I decided to put something up. I wanted to help them to realize their dreams. I have found out that real music is music that's done from the heart and there's the chance to introduce Nigeria to another brand of music that is wholesome. There's academics and art to music and not just commerce, and I found with me a group of people who are willing to express with me these very same ideas of myself and I said to myself that rather than sitting down and sulking over it, let's make things happen. By the grace of God, I have worked with a number of artists and earned myself a measure of reputation as a producer and that's some good name that can be put to use if I have the studio and a good name that can be put to use, then what are we waiting for? Let's come together and start something as long as we can do it right.

What's your view of the current Nigerian music industry?
I think the industry is not doing bad for itself, but it needs structures. The industry is still growing. Piracy, which is one of the major issues we are dealing with, can be tackled if there's a structure. A structure in terms of relapse, supply meeting demand, affordability, publicity and research. The industry needs to speak with one voice. There needs to be a body that can speak for musicians, a body that speaks the language of musicians generally and sincerely.
I think we are on our way. I believe in the Nigerian music industry. I think to an extent it is commercialized though, which to an extent is a great source of concern for me. I know that as we progress, the great separation would happen and we will know what is from what's not.

What about the quality of the musical output?
It is happening in two ways. There are those people who strive to create materials that can be considered international export materials and there are people who do music purely for the commerce of it; pe-ople who want to sell music to Nigerians since they know what Nigerians want. They create the very popular style of music, make a few quick bucks, buy a second-hand car, rent a cheap apartment and carry on with their lives. It is a trend that will come to pass after a while because Nigerians are getting wiser by the minute; Nigerians are responding more and more to real music, that's why I speak of the great separation. There will come the time when the latter will not have it as easy as they are having it now. There are quite a few who are striving to create wholesome music. Some people will call it alternative music, but for me, that's real music and if they continue at it, one day, one of us would come home with the Grammy.

Still going back to the earlier issue of your marriage, what are some of the other things you would like us to know at the moment?
I have always been expectant of marriage. As a child, it's quite uncommon to have dreams about getting married and all that, but I grew up really looking forward to that point of my life. So, it shouldn't be news to anybody that I would be making plans to get married. Although I think a lot of magazines have not handled it well, because you are the first person that is talking to me about it. Like I said before, all other comments out there purportedly made by me are all lies. This is the first time I am speaking about it to any media. Yes, I will be getting married very soon, I can't put a date to it just yet.

Tell us a bit more about the lady.
I am in a serious relationship with a wonderful lady and we have been together for almost a decade. It is very deep, very wide, very rewarding, very rich, very enriching, very productive relationship. It's been my drive for years. It's driven me to achieve, to succeed, to be a better person, to be a more honest person. It is a very meaningful relationship. It has given me room to express and has taken me to another level of expressing myself. It has taught me to love. It has taught me to give and receive love. It has taught me to appreciate and to enjoy being appreciated in return. I am in a relationship with someone I consider a very wise woman at her age. She is an absolutely amazing and admirable person. I like the way she laughs; it just kills me. She's a great person and I do hope sincerely that she and I will get married this year.

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